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Dong-A ST, Takara Bio signs licensing agreement for oncolytic virus therapy
  • By Marian Chu
  • Published 2018.08.23 11:49
  • Updated 2018.08.23 11:49
  • comments 0

Dong-A ST said Thursday it signed a development and sales licensing agreement with gene and cell therapy developing biopharmaceutical firm Takara Bio in Tokyo Wednesday for an oncolytic virus therapy called the Can-erpaturev (C-REV).

Dong-A ST CEO Eom Dae-sik (right) and Takara Bio CEO Koichi Nakao hold up the licensing agreement for C-REV during the signing ceremony at Takara headquarters in Tokyo Wednesday.

Under the accord, Dong-A ST will get exclusive rights to develop and sell the investigational oncolytic virus therapy in Korea, which Takara Bio is developing in Japan and the U.S.

Takara Bio will receive down payment and milestones from Dong-A ST. It will also receive sales royalties and supply the finished product.

Oncolytic virus therapies are next-generation targeted immunotherapies. The virus infects and breaks down cancer cells but not healthy ones, making it easier to kill tumor cells with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The cancer antigen secreted in the process of destroying cancer cells also activates the immune cells in the body, continually attacking the cancer cells and sites of metastasis while inhibiting recurrence.

C-REV is a naturally occurring attenuated Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 (HSV1) that has not undergone genetic manipulation. The firm noted that it has the characteristics of superior self-proliferative capacity and low side effects, allowing firms to develop it into treatments for various types of cancer.

“Interest in oncolytic viruses from pharmaceutical firms around the world is high considering that various studies have shown objective response rates and complete remission rates increase with combination therapies involving oncolytic viruses and immunostimulatory agents,” a Dong-A ST official said.

By cooperating with Takara Bio, Dong-A ST will expand its anticancer drug pipeline and raise competitiveness in related markets by being the leader with the oncolytic virus therapy, he added.

Takara Bio is developing C-REV to treat a type of malignant melanoma and pancreatic cancer. The company plans to apply for approval for manufacturing and marketing of the therapy as a treatment for malignant melanoma in Japan by next March.

Dong-A ST said it plans to get approval and sell the therapy for malignant melanoma and pancreatic cancer in Korea according to the progress made in Japan.


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